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How to Achieve Scalability in Cloud Computing?

Last updated on
January 22, 2024


What is scalability of cloud computing?

One of the most significant advantages of cloud computing for businesses is its scalability, which means the infrastructure can adjust resources based on current demand. This type of solution helps to reduce costs, speed up growth, and enhance responsiveness to market changes.

Cloud scalability benefits

Cloud scalability provides several benefits, including:

  • improved performance,
  • increased availability,
  • reduced downtime,
  • cost-effectiveness.

How to achieve cloud scalability?

To achieve scalability in cloud computing, the first step is to migrate to the cloud, as hardware capabilities can limit business growth. Choosing the right provider is also important as their capabilities vary. Scaling up your server through vertical, horizontal, or diagonal scaling can also improve performance. Consulting services can help develop the best plan for your business as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.


How to Achieve Scalability in Cloud Computing?


Every entrepreneur sooner or later wonders: How to achieve maximum business growth most cost-effectively?

This is probably why 76% of organizations worldwide use cloud-based operating models.

In this article, we will discuss how to leverage the potential of cloud solutions and achieve the unstoppable scalability of cloud computing.

Why does the whole world have its head in the clouds?

Imagine the situation. An entrepreneur founded a start-up - a new social networking app. He started modestly - a small team, local hardware, and readiness for 15 thousand users. Marketing works great, popularity grows and the app thrives at snowball speed. Suddenly it goes from 15 thousand users to 50 thousand and then 100 thousand. A best possible scenario, right? 

But a problem arises. Servers are not prepared for such a large amount of traffic and data. The application starts to stutter, there are issues with logging in and adding photos. Users are dissatisfied and leave, bad reviews go worldwide. The company has lost money, customer trust, and a successful opportunity. It has to start over with another product because the business world rarely gives second chances.

What went wrong? The pace of business development overtook technological resources, and the company needed more scalability.

What could’ve been done better? Preparation for sudden growth by implementing a solution that would allow the company to instantly add resources, handle increased traffic, automatically scale and maintain the highest quality of service. And that solution is not limited to local servers. That solution is cloud computing.

Benefits of cloud computing

  • scalability,
  • flexibility,
  • automation,
  • security,
  • cost-efficiency,
  • data recovery.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Check out how to maximize cloud cost savings even more.</p></span>

What is cloud scalability?

Cloud computing is a technology that allows data to be processed and stored in servers outside the local network – in the cloud.

One of its greatest business benefits is cloud scalability, i.e. the ability of the infrastructure to increase or decrease resources depending on current demand. Such solutions optimize costs, accelerate the growth, and increase responsiveness to market changes.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Cloud scalability refers to a cloud computing system's ability to handle more workload or user requests by allocating or de-allocating computing resources in a quick and efficient manner.</p></span>

In a cloud computing environment, scalability is achieved by dynamically managing computing resources such as processing power, memory, storage, and network bandwidth based on the current demands of the system. This allows the system to scale up or down as needed to accommodate changing levels of user traffic, data storage, or processing requirements.

Why is this important?

The biggest advantage of such a solution is that it increases business growth opportunities by improving system performance and enabling scaling that was not possible before. After all, with the cloud, a company is not limited by the capabilities of its own hardware and local server but has access to the almost unlimited capabilities of external hosting. In this way, even a small company can take advantage of powerful computing tools and grow its business faster and more efficiently.

By being able to respond rapidly to changes in demand, cloud scalability ensures that systems are always available and responsive, even during high traffic or heavy usage. Additionally, it allows organizations to optimize their resource usage, reducing the need for expensive hardware investments and minimizing operational costs.

How does scalability in cloud computing work?

Scalability in cloud computing works by enabling the allocation and de-allocation of computing resources in a dynamic and flexible manner, depending on the current demand of the system.

There are several key components that enable scalability in cloud computing, including:

  • Elasticity: Cloud computing systems are designed to be elastic, which means that they can rapidly allocate and de-allocate resources to meet changing demands. This enables systems to scale up or down quickly as needed, without the need for manual intervention.
  • Load Balancing: Load balancing is a technique used in cloud computing to distribute workloads across multiple computing resources, such as servers or virtual machines. By spreading the workload across multiple resources, load balancing can help to optimize performance and improve availability.
  • Auto-Scaling: Auto-scaling is a feature in cloud computing that automatically adjusts the amount of computing resources allocated to a system based on the current demand. For example, if a system is experiencing high traffic, auto-scaling may automatically provision additional resources to handle the load, and then de-allocate those resources when the traffic subsides.
  • Distributed Computing: Distributed computing is a technique used in cloud computing to distribute processing tasks across multiple computing resources. By breaking down large tasks into smaller pieces and distributing them across multiple resources, distributed computing can help to improve performance and enable greater scalability.
  • Cloud Storage: Cloud storage is a scalable storage solution that enables organizations to store large amounts of data in the cloud. Cloud storage services can automatically scale to accommodate growing data volumes, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Scalability in cloud computing relies on a combination of these and other techniques to ensure that computing resources are always available and responsive, no matter how much demand they are under.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Read also: How To Avoid Technical Bankruptcy? 10 Practical Tips</p></span>

Cloud scalability vs. Cloud elasticity

The terms 'scalability' and 'elasticity' in business are often used interchangeably, but in the context of cloud solutions, they mean different concepts. 

Scalability refers to the ability of a system to add, remove, or reconfigure resources such as hardware, software, capacity, or processing power to meet the demands of a variable workload. Scalability is key to planning and developing a system following the business strategy.

Elasticity means the automatic increasing or decreasing of resources to dynamically adjust to current user demand. Elasticity is particularly useful in the case of systems with variable usage patterns, such as streaming or e-commerce platforms.

Differences between scalability and elasticity

Other differences between scalability and elasticity are:


Elasticity is inherently automated, whereas scalability may require manual intervention.

With elasticity, resources are provisioned and de-provisioned automatically, without the need for human intervention. In contrast, scalability may require manual configuration changes to add or remove resources.


Scalability may be more focused on long-term growth, while elasticity is more focused on short-term fluctuations in demand.

Scalability is generally a more strategic concern, as it involves planning for future growth and ensuring that the infrastructure can handle increasing levels of demand over time. Elasticity is more focused on responding to short-term fluctuations in demand, such as spikes in traffic during a particular event or season.


Scalability is generally a broader concept, encompassing all aspects of the cloud infrastructure, including processing power, storage, and networking. Elasticity is more narrowly focused on the ability to provision and de-provision resources automatically in response to demand.

In summary, scalability refers to the property of the system to add needed resources and carry out changes. Elasticity is the system's automatically taken action in response to current demand.

Benefits of scalability in cloud computing

Ability to handle high traffic

Cloud scalability allows businesses to instantly increase system capacity by adding more resources and thus improve service quality and user experience. This is a significant advantage for businesses with seasonal or unpredictable traffic patterns. Let's analyze this using the e-commerce industry as an example.

The online store traffic is volatile and can surge during summer sales, the launch of a new offer, Black Friday, limited offers, or when a popular influencer recommends a company's product. If the sales platform went down at the moment of overload, the store would lose a large number of customers. Cloud scalability allows you to capitalize on the potential of increased traffic, provide superior service and increase profits.

Accommodate growth in data and users

Business development should be an opportunity, not a problem. It's natural for a start-up to begin as a small company serving a few hundred customers and a relatively small amount of data. Over time, however, it needs more and more capabilities to cope with growing recognition and to handle larger databases. 

In the case of local servers, each successive company milestone involves a costly and lengthy infrastructure rebuild. Cloud scalability allows you to increase data storage capacity as soon as the need arises, so the system does not generate bottlenecks.


If you don't use cloud solutions, you surely know how incredibly expensive and problematic it is to replace hardware every time its capabilities are no longer sufficient. Cloud computing significantly reduces hardware replacement costs because data is stored on external vendors' servers, not on your local drives. In this way, the responsibility for increasing capacity rests with the hosting companies, and you don't have to worry about whether your hardware can handle the new requirements.

Moreover, one of the most popular payment models in cloud solutions is pay-as-you-go, in which you are charged based on usage. The scalability of cloud computing is expressed in high cost-effectiveness as you pay only for the resources you need and use the infrastructure provided by the vendor.

Improved performance

While local servers often limit system performance, especially during busy periods, cloud computing gives you access to vast resources of processing power. Cloud scalability translates into the flexibility to use as many resources as you need without the limits inherent in hardware infrastructure. 

Better performance means high-quality service you can offer your customers, including:

  • Faster performance of a website or application. 
  • The ability to add new functionality.
  • Greater agility and responsiveness to market needs.

Enterprise efficiency and business growth... but is it always viable?

Enterprises move to the cloud to simplify the growth of their business and increase the efficiency in terms of time and cost.

However, cloud computing brings both benefits and risks to the enterprise table. Explore benefits and risks of implementing cloud in an enterprise environment.

3 Types of Cloud Scalability

Vertical scaling

Vertical scaling, also known as scaling up or down, involves adding additional resources by changing the server to a more powerful one, without interfering with the code.

In practice, this means adding or subtracting cloud server power by upgrading memory, storage, or processing power and running existing application code on a more powerful virtual machine.

Scaling capabilities in this way may not be sufficient for huge applications with a lot of queries to handle, as the server has limited capacity and when it’s no longer sufficient, it will need to be changed to a larger one. Vertical scaling, however, is often used for relational databases and applications with a limited number of users.

Advantages of Vertical Scaling

  • Flexible resources pool.
  • Easy to use and implement.
  • No code changes.
  • The entire database is on a single server.

Disadvantages of Vertical Scaling

  • Limited expansion options.
  • Less efficient when responding to simultaneous multiple queries.
  • Higher costs as you have to pay for more resources each time you scale up.

Horizontal scaling

Horizontal scaling, otherwise known as out or in scaling, involves increasing server capacity by adding more machines. While vertical scaling is a more monolithic model involving changing a server to more powerful when demand increases, horizontal scaling is rather modular. Datasets can be divided into several servers called shards and nodes, each of which stores a different type of information, such as user data, order history, multimedia, etc. This ensures that each query goes to a specialized shard, acting as a single database, and does not burden the whole server. Such a solution allows you to increase performance and handle more queries simultaneously but is more difficult to implement.

Advantages of Horizontal Scaling

  • Cost-efficient.
  • High performance and reduced server load.
  • Flexible server expansion.
  • Unlimited scalability.

Disadvantages of Horizontal Scaling

  • More difficult to implement due to its complex architecture.
  • Less consistent infrastructure.
  • More complicated debugging process.

Diagonal scaling

Both vertical and horizontal scaling have their advantages. What a pity that it’s not possible to combine them... Oh, wait. It is!

Diagonal scaling is a hybrid solution between the two options. It allows veridical development until the infrastructure reaches capacity limits. Then, you can add more resources to the servers in a horizontal model. The combination of vertical and horizontal scaling avoids bottlenecks, improves performance, and optimizes costs.

How to achieve cloud scalability?

  1. Migrate to the cloud. Hardware capabilities are limited and will very quickly slow down the growth of your business, so the first step should be to change your data storage model. Scalability in cloud computing is one of the most important advantages of this technology.
  2. Choose the right provider. Many companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google offer cloud solutions, but their capabilities vary and the choice depends on your business needs.
  3. Expand your server. Vertical, horizontal, or diagonal scaling is the way to improve the performance of your system by adding additional resources. Cloud solutions offer great opportunities - explore their potential.
  4. Take advantage of consulting services. There is no one-size-fits-all way to achieve cloud scalability because choosing the best solutions depends on the nature and needs of your business. The size of your company, the number of customers, the way you use your applications, your industry, your planned growth, and the type of activities you perform determine which model will work best for you.

Need some help with achieving cloud scalability?

Contact our cloud scalability experts. We will help you develop the best development plan, choose a service provider and carry out the migration.

How to determine optimal cloud scalability?

Step 1: Evaluation

Determine the current demand for your applications or services and project future demand for the next few years. This will help you determine the amount of scaling you need to do.

Step 2: Research

Explore different scalability in cloud computing options, such as vertical scaling, horizontal scaling, or types of cloud computing services, and determine which option is best suited for your needs.

Step 3: Testing

Test the scalability of your applications or services under different conditions to ensure that they can handle the expected load.

Step 4: Automation

Implement scaling automation. Specify conditions under which the server should scale to maintain or improve application performance. Such trigger thresholds could be a certain number of application users at a given time, the amount of data being processed, or the number of queries being handled simultaneously.

Scalability in different types of cloud computing services

We can distinguish 3 basic types of cloud services:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)  

IaaS is a category of cloud computing services that provide virtualized computing resources on the web. IaaS allows users to have access to a virtual infrastructure of servers, storage, and networking components, which they can use to deploy and run their applications and services without having to manage the underlying hardware. 

In this case, the service provider is responsible for maintaining the physical infrastructure, such as data centers, servers, and networking equipment. Customers can flexibly customize and configure the virtual infrastructure according to their requirements, and they only pay for the resources.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are examples of IaaS providers.


IaaS is relatively complex to maintain, so the support of an experienced DevOps engineer is crucial to configure the VMs for efficient and secure performance. Also, IaaS must have a load-balancing mechanism to distribute the workload across multiple servers.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a cloud computing model in which a third-party provider delivers a platform that allows customers to develop, run, and manage their applications without the need for building and maintaining infrastructure. PaaS provides a complete platform for developers to build, deploy, and run their applications. It includes tools, frameworks, and other services such as database management, integration, scalability, and security. 

The platform is hosted on the vendor's infrastructure and can be accessed through a web browser or API. PaaS allows developers to focus on building applications rather than worrying about infrastructure and operational challenges.

Heroku and Google App Engine are among the most popular PaaS providers.


The IaaS solution is relatively inflexible, as you can only use technologies provided by the vendor. This significantly limits your ability to customize the platform. Since PaaS is provided by a third-party provider of the computing infrastructure, users may have limited control over certain aspects of their operations. Another challenge is the security issues associated with multitenant architecture.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a cloud computing delivery model in which software applications are provided through the internet by a third-party provider. This solution doesn't require development or server maintenance from a user so it's a ready-to-go software.

In this model, customers subscribe to the software, using it through the cloud rather than installing and maintaining it on-premises. This type of service is typically accessed through a web browser or API from anywhere, at any time, making it accessible and cost-effective for businesses.

Common examples of SaaS products include Salesforce, Dropbox, and Google Workspace. Scaling potential depends on the functionalities provided by the vendor, but many solutions offer extensive integration options.


Limited customization is the main drawback of SaaS solutions. The user cannot develop the tool freely and is dependent on the features offered by the vendor. Another challenge is the lack of control. Organizations using SaaS applications rely on their providers' market success, stability, and business decisions in terms of scalability in cloud computing.

Cloud scalability challenges

Monitoring and managing the scalability of the cloud

Even if the scalability of the cloud can be automated to some extent, keeping an eye on application performance and server load is essential to ensure the best performance. Monitoring and managing scalability refer to the process of tracking the performance and availability of cloud resources such as servers, storage, and networks and ensuring that they can adapt to increasing or decreasing demand from users. 

It is crucial to monitor and manage cloud scalability because it helps ensure that the cloud environment is performing optimally, that resources are being used efficiently, and that users are getting the best possible experience. 

Without proper monitoring and management, organizations may face performance issues, downtime, and increased costs. This is especially true for large systems handling large-scale workloads. We all remember the confusion that Google Workspace or Instagram crashes caused. You certainly don't want such a situation in your company!

Maintaining consistency in scalability

Consistency in cloud scalability means that the cloud system can maintain a stable level of performance, even if the workload increases or decreases.  In this way, the system can always deliver the highest service quality, regardless of the number of users. Consistency is a major factor for cloud scalability because it ensures that the system is able to handle sudden spikes in demand without any interruptions or slowdowns. 

How to ensure consistency in scalability?

  • Standardization of processes and protocols in the configuration of servers and nodes prevents conflicts when integrating different services and applications.
  • Automation in cloud computing reduces the error rate and leads to faster delivery, deployment, and maintenance of the cloud environment.
  • Compliance with regulatory standards and procedures of cloud usage helps guarantee the consistent application of policies to all users, data, and applications.
  • Education and training of employees and users of cloud services help reduce the number of errors that affect system performance.

Ensuring security in cloud scalability

Security is one of the most discussed issues in the context of cloud scalability. This is primarily due to the very nature of cloud solutions and shared responsibility. As the saying goes 'A chain is no stronger than its weakest link', and in the case of cloud scalability, such links are all entities with access to data and servers, namely: provider, client, and development team. To ensure secure cloud scalability, awareness, education, and procedures are essential.

How to improve cloud scalability security?

  • Adherence to security procedures is key to secure cloud operations. Each cloud vendor adopts a security model to protect data and provide compliance with regulatory standards. This includes encryption, access control, data backup, and disaster recovery.
  • Ongoing testing and monitoring, as well as regular auditing across all servers or nodes, is crucial to ensure security. Only one in five organizations assess their overall cloud security monitoring in a real-time manner and 58% of companies evaluate their posture once a month, or even less frequently. 
  • Strong authentication and access control ensure that only verified users have access to sensitive data. Custom permissions, multi-factor authentication, encryption, and regular password changes help to increase cloud scalability security.
  • Deploying disaster recovery and incident response protocols ensure business continuity, even in case of data loss, system failure, or cyber-attacks.

How to ensure security during cloud scalability - step-by-step plan

Ensuring security during cloud scalability, especially for financial apps, involves a multi-faceted approach. The key is to maintain robust security measures while efficiently handling increased workload and user traffic.

  1. Implement strong access control: Use identity and access management (IAM) systems to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to sensitive data and operations. Implement multi-factor authentication and strict access policies.
  2. Regularly update and patch systems: Keep all systems up to date with the latest security patches. This is crucial for defending against new vulnerabilities and threats that can be exploited during scaling operations.
  3. Use encryption: Data should be encrypted both in transit and at rest. This includes encrypting communications between the app and the cloud, as well as any data stored in the cloud. This is particularly important for financial data, which is a prime target for cyberattacks.
  4. Monitor and log activities: Continuous monitoring of the cloud environment is essential. Implement logging of all activities and regularly review these logs to detect and respond to any unusual or suspicious activities. This can help in early detection of breaches or vulnerabilities.
  5. Implement scalable security tools: Use security tools that are designed to scale with your infrastructure. This includes firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and anti-malware software that can handle increased loads without compromising performance.
  6. Conduct regular security audits and compliance checks: Regularly audit your cloud infrastructure for security vulnerabilities and compliance with relevant regulations (such as GDPR, PCI DSS, etc.). This is crucial for financial apps that handle sensitive user data.
  7. Backup and disaster recovery: Regular backups and a solid disaster recovery plan ensure that, in the event of a cyberattack or other disaster, your financial app can quickly recover with minimal data loss.

Specific challenges for fintech

Fintech apps indeed face several specific challenges in ensuring security during cloud scalability, largely due to the unique nature of their operations and the sensitive data they handle. Some of these challenges include:

  1. Regulatory compliance: Fintech apps are subject to a range of financial regulations and standards (like PCI DSS, GDPR, and others depending on the region). Compliance becomes more complex with scalability, as they need to ensure that expanded infrastructure and services continue to meet these regulatory requirements.
  2. Data security and privacy: As fintech apps deal with sensitive financial data, ensuring the security and privacy of this data during scalability is paramount. This includes challenges in encryption, data segregation, and secure data transfer, especially when scaling involves multiple regions with different data protection laws.
  3. Identity and Access Management (IAM): As fintech services scale, managing who has access to what data becomes more complex. Ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive data, and maintaining strict control over permissions and roles, is a significant challenge.
  4. Threat detection and management: Scaling up resources can potentially open up new vulnerabilities and increase the attack surface for cyber threats. Fintech apps need advanced and scalable threat detection and response mechanisms to monitor and protect against evolving cybersecurity threats.
  5. Maintaining service continuity: During scaling, ensuring that the fintech app remains available and performs optimally is crucial. Any downtime or performance issues can lead to a loss of trust and financial repercussions for both the company and its customers.
  6. Integration with legacy systems: Many fintech apps need to integrate with existing legacy banking systems, which can be challenging when scaling. These systems might not be designed for cloud scalability, leading to potential security and compatibility issues.
  7. Cross-border data transfer: Fintech apps operating in multiple jurisdictions face the challenge of adhering to different data transfer and sovereignty laws. Ensuring compliance with these laws while scaling and transferring data across borders can be complex.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Need some help with these challenges? Take a quick look at this ranking of top fintech software development companies and check if they can help.</p></span>

Specific challenges for healthcare

Healthcare apps also face a unique set of challenges when ensuring security during cloud scalability, similar to fintech apps, but with additional considerations specific to the healthcare industry. Here are some of these challenges:

  1. Compliance with health data regulations: Healthcare apps must comply with strict regulations such as HIPAA in the United States, GDPR in Europe, and other local health data protection laws. These regulations have stringent requirements for the handling, storage, and transmission of health information. Ensuring compliance while scaling can be complex and requires continuous monitoring and adaptation.
  2. Sensitive data protection: Healthcare data is extremely sensitive and includes personal health information (PHI). Safeguarding this data during scalability is crucial. This includes ensuring robust encryption, data anonymization where necessary, and strict data access controls.
  3. Integration with existing healthcare systems: Many healthcare apps need to integrate with existing electronic health record (EHR) systems, which can be a challenge, particularly when these systems are outdated or not designed for cloud environments. Ensuring secure and seamless integration while scaling is a significant task.
  4. Threat detection and response: The healthcare sector is a frequent target for cyberattacks due to the sensitive nature of the data involved. As healthcare apps scale, they must enhance their threat detection and response capabilities to protect against evolving cybersecurity threats.
  5. Maintaining patient trust and privacy: Patient trust is paramount in healthcare. Any breach or perceived inadequacy in protecting patient data can severely damage a healthcare provider's reputation. Therefore, maintaining privacy and security is not just a regulatory requirement but also a business imperative.
  6. Cross-border data challenges: For healthcare apps operating internationally, different countries have different regulations regarding health data. Navigating these while scaling can be complex, particularly when it comes to cross-border data transfers and storage.
  7. Balancing accessibility with security: Healthcare providers need quick and reliable access to patient data for effective treatment. Balancing this need for accessibility with stringent security measures is a key challenge, especially as more users and locations are added during scaling.


Over 60% of the world's corporate data is stored in the cloud. Huge scalability potential, better performance, improved user experience, cost-effectiveness, and convenience make cloud computing one of the most important technologies supporting business growth. But with great power comes great responsibility. 

To achieve unstoppable cloud scalability you need to carefully consider all the challenges that the new environment poses to business. Regular testing and measuring, security procedures auditing the environment and applications, responding to the growing number of users, automation and development strategy will allow you to realize the full potential of cloud solutions. 

Wondering if all the effort is worth it? According to 74% of Tech Chief Financial Officers, cloud computing had the most measurable impact on their business. Let that be the answer!

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Olga Gierszal
IT Outsourcing Market Analyst & Software Engineering Editor

Software development enthusiast with 6 years of professional experience in the tech industry. Experienced in outsourcing and nearshoring market analysis. Our expert in presenting tech, business, and digital topics in an accessible way.

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